Nina Zarina of Campbell, California was the women’s winner of Sunday’s 35th annual Long Beach Marathon by more than three minutes, while Nate Clayson of Saratoga Springs, Utah was the men’s winner.
The 32-year-old Zarina pulled away from the lead pack in the 19th mile and completed the 26-mile, 385-yard race in two hours, 45 minutes, 11 seconds, the sixth-fastest time overall. Mary Akor of South Pasadena was second among women, in 2:48:51 and Sarah Higgens of Long Beach third, in 2:53:20.
“It wasn’t easy, but I ran strong and kept my pace in the second half of the race,” said Zarina, who ran in the Long Beach race for the first time.
The 33-year-old Clayson took the lead for good in the 24th mile and was timed in 2:28:57 for his first marathon victory. Jose Penaloza of Santa Ana was second, in 2:30:24 and Oswaldo Hurtado of Downey third, in 2:37:55.
“(Winning) is something that everybody aspires to do and it’s just fun to be able to do it here in Long Beach,” Clayson said.
A capacity field of 3,200 entered, including 15 runners who completed all 34 previous editions of the race. Registration was up 10% from last year, race publicist Dan Cruz told City News Service.
A 13.1-mile half-marathon and a 20-mile bicycle tour were held in connection with the marathon. The bicycle tour was held on the marathon course, conducted in the opposite direction.
Another 11,800 runners entered the half-marathon. The combined marathon and half-marathon fields consisted of runners from 44 states and six nations, with 20% running their first marathon or half-marathon. Nearly two-thirds of the entrants were female, Cruz said.
The marathon course started on Shoreline Drive. Runners then passed through The Pike at Rainbow Harbour retail and entertainment center, ran on an on-ramp to the Long Beach (710) Freeway, and crossed the Queensway Bridge to the bow of the Queen Mary.
The field looped around the Lighthouse at Rainbow Harbor, headed to Pierpoint Landing, then back through the start/finish area.
The sixth through 10th miles were run a few feet from the Pacific Ocean. The course then went through the Belmont Shore neighborhood, passed Marine Stadium, around Colorado Lagoon, passing the Long Beach Recreation Golf Course.
The 16th through 20th miles were on a 5-kilometer loop through Cal State Long Beach. The field then ran on Ocean Boulevard to the finish line on Shoreline Drive.
The Long Beach Marathon was a qualifying event for the 2021 Marathon Majors Age Group World Championships, with runners receiving points according to their age, time and gender.
The Long Beach Marathon was first held in 1982. The race was disbanded in 1996 because of financial problems, then revived in 1999 under new management.
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